At age five, I had already experienced the loss of a parent. My biological father died of lung cancer.
At age six, I had already experienced alcoholism, though not personally. My mom was glued to her wine. That was how I found her one day, walking into the house. I had just gotten home from school and she was already drunk off her ass.
"Mommy? Mommy, I know you miss Daddy... but I miss you..."
She was passed out on the floor and didn't hear a thing. She didn't remember any of her days. She didn't remember to eat breakfast, let alone when my birthday was. It came and went. I baked a cake for myself. She saw it and she escaped back to the bottle. Running away from how horrible a mother she was.
I had already lost her by the time she met the man now known as Stepmonster. She met him at our local grocery store. I didn't like him the first time I laid my eyes on him.
At age seven, I had already experienced threats from the man my mom thought she loved. Or maybe she never really loved him. Maybe she loved the bottle and he provided it, so she thought he loved her and that was enough.
"You screw this up for me, you little bitch, and I'll make your existence hell."
At age seven, I already knew their relationship would be unhealthy for me, but what was I to do?
Before age eight, I was the flower girl at their wedding.
"You look so beautiful in that blue dress, baby girl. You know blue is Mommy's favorite color, don't you?"
She kisses my head and then goes back to put on finishing touches. I walk out taking handfuls of white and blue petals and gently sprinkling them along the aisle. When I glance up, I find her soon-to-be husband smiling at me. Family members will say it was with love and adoration, but even I, at age seven--almost eight--can tell when a man is sick in the head.
At age eight, I found out just how sick in the head. It was my birthday and he took us to the zoo. I had to go to the restroom and he offered to take me seeing as my mother was tired and with child. He sent her to sit and wait for us. Why couldn't she see it?
She lost the child a couple months after that. He got her started on his stash and I lost her even more. She ran back and back and back to him for more and more of the stuff. Running away from past pains and the very present pain of losing a baby boy. The only heir as they no longer count Garret as their own.
"I wish you'd go back to the bottles Mommy... At least then you knew I was your daughter."
To be loved, not beaten.